Holy Island

Walk St Cuthbert’s Way Trip Notes

Ways to Travel:
Guided Group, Private Group Adventures
Destinations:
United Kingdom
Programmes:
Walking & Trekking
Trip Code:
TSS
Activity Rating - Moderate
Moderate

You are moderately fit and possess a spirit of adventure. Some previous experience is required for most activity based trips.

8 Days Land only
Ages: 16+

Trip Overview

St Cuthbert's Way runs from Melrose Abbey in the Scottish Borders to the Holy Island of Lindisfarne off the coast of Northumberland in England.

The route links several sites associated with St Cuthbert, who began his monastic career at Melrose Abbey from 650AD and eventually became the Abbot at Lindisfarne. Viking raids forced the abandonment of the abbey but its importance in the history of Christianity on these islands should not be underestimated. 

A fascinating mix of landscapes unfolds as we walk along valleys, over hills and along rivers, stopping at lovely old towns and villages like Morebattle and Wooler en route to a dramatic tidal causeway and Holy Island itself.

At a Glance

  • 7 nights in local hotels and guesthouses
  • 6 days walking
  • Group normally 4-12, plus leader. Min age. 16 yrs
  • Low altitude throughout
  • Travel by private minibus and train

Trip Highlights

  • Holy Island with its fascinating ruins
  • Beautiful scenery of the Scottish Borders and Northumberland
  • Historic villages and welcoming, traditional, accommodation

Is This Trip for You?

The walking itself is very varied, with some easy riverside and farmland stretches as well as some rougher going on modest hills. Distances will vary each day, with the longest day being 32km. A reasonable level of fitness is required. Equally, you must be prepared for inclement weather.

You will only need to take a daypack with you on the walks and luggage will be transferred between the accommodation during the trip.

Adult min age:
16
Min group size:
6
Max group size:
12

Itinerary

Land Only

Start City:
Edinburgh Waverley Station
End City:
Berwick Station

Land Only Itinerary

  • Day 1

    Edinburgh to Melrose

    Around midday we catch the train from Edinburgh. The Borders Railway passes through historic mining villages and the beautiful rolling hills of the Scottish Borders. It takes just under an hour to reach Tweedbank, where a private transfer takes us to Melrose.

    The picturesque town of Melrose is a quaint border town, arguably one of the most beautiful small towns in Scotland. We have some time in the afternoon to explore or relax at the hotel.

    The area around Melrose has been inhabited for thousands of years. In AD 79 the Roman army built a major fort nearby named Trimontium, ‘Place of the Three Hills’. Around 3 miles west on the banks of the Tweed is Sir Walter Scott’s romantic mansion of Abbotsford (easily accessible by taxi for those wishing to discover it). Overnight in Melrose.

  • Day 2

    Melrose to St Boswells

    We start at the gates of the magnificent 12th century Melrose Abbey and walk up over the Eildon Hills for one of the best views in the Scottish Borders: Melrose, the Moorfoot and Lammermuir Hills, with the mighty Cheviots to the south! The route then descends to the village of Bowden, before gently winding through farmland and woods to Newtown St. Boswells. Following the banks of the River Tweed, with secluded views to Dryburgh Abbey, we end our first walking day in St. Boswells itself.

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
    Distance covered: 13 km / 8 miles
  • Day 3

    St Boswells to Jedburgh

    Leaving St Boswells behind we follow the River Tweed and along Dere Street, one of the main Roman roads. This takes us to Harestanes from where we approach the River Teviot. The way across is via the Monteviot Suspension Footbridge, just below Monteviot House, from where it takes its name. We then follow along the banks of the river to Jedfoot to rejoin Dere Street which takes us towards Jedburgh. 

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
    Distance covered: 13.6 km / 8.5 miles
  • Day 4

    Jedburgh to Morebattle

    Today's walking takes us through woodland to farm paths and tracks through rich agricultural land to Cessford and 15th-century Cessford Castle, once the stronghold of the Kerr clan, one of the most influential in the history of the Scottish Borders. The day ends at Morebattle, the site of human habitation as far back as the iron age, as is demonstrated by its iron age fort on nearby Morebattle Hill. 

    In Morebattle, we are picked up to rejoin our accommodation in Jedburgh for the night.

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
    Distance covered: 17 km / 10.5 miles
  • Day 5

    Morebattle to Wooler

    After a short transfer, we start our walk from Morebattle again, heading towards Wooler.

    We start climbing via Grubbit Law, along the ridge to Wideopen Hill. At 400m, Wideopen Hill is the highest point on St. Cuthbert’s Way and the halfway point from Melrose to Holy Island. Remember to look back and take in the view of the Eildon Hills before we begin walking on to Kirk Yetholm.

    The next section of St. Cuthbert’s Way coincides with the final stretch of the Pennine Way. Climbing up from Halterburn around Green Humbleton (287m), one of many hill forts along St. Cuthbert’s Way, we reach the border of Scotland and England, before crossing into Northumberland National Park. The Way then drops back down via Elsdonburn to Hethpool and onwards through woodland and a good track along the Cheviot foothills, heading for Yeavering Bell (361m), Northumberland’s largest Iron Age fort. A lovely path leads through the heather, over Gains Law, down to the small market town of Wooler and back to civilisation. Overnight Wooler.

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
    Distance covered: 32 km / 20 miles
  • Day 6

    Wooler to Lindisfarne

    The Northumberland countryside welcomes us today as we leave Wooler. After some time crossing farmland and woods our route takes us within reach of St Cuthbert's Cave. The remains of St Cuthbert, along with some of his relics, were removed from Holy Island for their protection following Viking raids that cost the lives of many monks and a good deal of gold and silver. The monks' escape took several weeks, and this cave provided them shelter and rest on their way to Durham, where St Cuthbert was reburied. 
    Our route will take us as far as the Lindisfarne Inn, just outside Berwick-on-Tweed, which is the nearest mainland pub to Holy Island. Popular for its warm hospitality and great food, it is also the perfect location for walkers hoping to head to the island, as it's only accessible on foot at low tide. 

     

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
    Distance covered: 19 km / 12 miles
  • Day 7

    Holy Island

    The Holy Island of Lindisfarne is one of the most significant religious sites in the history of Christianity in England. The monastery was founded in 635AD by Saint Aidan but is also well known as the place the bloodthirsty Vikings first landed in Britain. It was this attack and resulting deaths of the monks that prompted the monks at Durham to remark that it was a "Holy Island, baptised in blood".
    It is home to just 160 people, and is a popular visitor destination as there is plenty to see. The original Lindisfarne Gospels, written around 700 AD are held in the British Library in London, however there is an interactive experience available to allow visitors to view them. 
    There is the National Trust property of Lindisfarne Castle (entrance optional) dating from 1550 and of course, the big draw, the ruins of the Priory that are still resisting the elements some 1400 years after their construction. Here you can also learn about the murderous Viking raid in the museum. If we want to get back to our hotel we'll need to keep to time today, as the only access is via the causeway which disappears when the tide comes in!

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
    Distance covered: 9.5 km / 6 miles
  • Day 8

    End in Berwick Station

    After Breakfast, we take a transfer to Berwick Station, where our trip ends and we can make our way back home. 

    Meals included:
    Breakfast

Accommodation

St Cuthbert's Way

Our route is littered with wonderful old pubs and coaching inns on both sides of the border. The very word pub comes from the name 'Public House' so it's no surprise to find they offer comfortable rooms for our intrepid groups. The coaching inns may not have space for horse-drawn carriages anymore however they are still ready and waiting to welcome travellers with hearty food, drink and a place to rest. 

From the King's Arms in Melrose to the Lindisfarne Inn, the last mainland pub before Holy Island, all provide a warm and welcoming touch to our journey. Moreover, they serve a selection of good, wholesome country fare best accompanied by a choice of local ale, glass of wine or drink from a well-stocked bar. 

All rooms will have private facilities.

Accommodation  used: 

Kings Arms Hotel, Melrose

Buccleuch Arms, St Boswells

Royal Hotel, Jedburgh

Tankerville Arms, Wooler

Lindisfarne Inn, Lindisfarne

 

 

Where a single supplement is available, paying for a single will only guarantee a room for single use. It does not necessarily mean a twin or double room will be provided for sole occupancy.

Please note that a member of the group may be allocated a single room by default if the make-up of the group means there isn’t anyone for them to share with. Paying the supplement in advance is the only way to guarantee a single room.

Single supplements cannot be refunded retrospectively.

Single supplement from $640.00 USD

Food & Transport

Eating & Drinking

All breakfasts are included.

Lunches can be purchased from local bakeries, shops and mini-markets which will offer you the opportunity to try lots of local produce. Packed lunches may also be possible to organise with accommodation stayed at during the trip.

Dinners will usually be taken in the accommodation in which we stay, or in traditional local pubs along the way.

Transportation

Transfers throughout the week will be by private mini-bus. The tour also includes a return train ticket from Edinburgh. Luggage will be transferred throughout the tour to the next accommodation. You will only need to carry a daypack during the walks.

Weather & Seasonality

Weather Information

The Scottish borders and Northumberland's climate is generally mild between April – October with changeable days when it is entirely possible to have rain, wind and brilliant sunshine in a short period. 

Waterproof clothing is therefore essential and should be carried at all times as should a light thermal vest / jacket as coastal winds can be fresh. Temperatures rarely fall below 12 degrees but can reach the mid 20’s during the height of the summer.

Joining Instructions

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers will be sent to you as part of our Final Joining Instructions. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.

Transfers Details

Travelling land only: 8 days starting in Edinburgh Waverley Station and ending at Berwick Railway station

What to Take

Essential Equipment

  • Walking boots with good ankle support and grip
  • Waterproof/windproof jacket and over trousers- drying facilities are available for overnight drying out as required
  • Warm hat/gloves
  • A warm jacket & sweater/fleece 
  • Refillable water bottle (1-2 litre capacity at least)- Please note that tap water is safe to drink in the area which means all you need to do is bring a bottle to re-fill along the way. Please add this to your packing list as this will save on wasteful plastic bottles.
  • Daypack
  • Sunglasses
  • Sun hat, sun screen and lip salve
  • Small first aid kit including Compeed/blister kit

Optional Equipment

  • Walking poles
TSS

Practical Information

Visa

Scotland

United Kingdom

Visa regulations can change without notice: please check the current regulations in good time to obtain a visa if one is required.

Vaccination

Scotland

No vaccinations are obligatory.

United Kingdom

No vaccinations are obligatory.

Travel health can often be something people forget about before going away, but a little preparation and knowledge can go a long way to help you stay fit and healthy while abroad.

As we are not qualified to answer all your questions about travel health we strongly recommend you contact your Medical Professional or a Travel Health Clinic at least 8 weeks prior to departure for up-to-date information. Please note: vaccinations that are routinely recommended to residents of the UK, North America or Australasia are not considered to form part of the travel health advice, and you should ensure these are kept up to date where necessary.

For additional information please visit: https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/countries

Insurance - are you adequately covered?

It is a condition of joining any of our holidays that you must be fully insured against medical and personal accident risks (to include repatriation costs and air ambulance or helicopter rescue services where appropriate). On arrival in destination for your trip, you will be asked to present details to your leader or local representative of your policy.

If you are resident in the UK we strongly recommend the Exodus travel insurance policy, this is specifically designed to cover all activities on your trip. If arranging your own policy please ensure that you are covered for all activities that are part of the trip, optional activities that you intend to take part in and/or on high altitude itineraries, that you are covered up to the maximum altitude of the trip.

Local Time

United Kingdom's Timezone:
Europe/London BST (GMT +01:00)

Electricity

United Kingdom's Electricity:

220-240V. 50Hz. You will need a 3 pinned type G plug.

Money

ATM Availability

ATMs are available in Edinburgh, as well as most towns & villages visited during the week. Credit & debit cards are widely accepted but in general it is also a good idea to carry some cash.

Extra Expenses & Spending Money

As lunches will usually be purchased from local bakeries and supermarkets or from accommodations we stay at, we recommend budgeting approximately GBP 5-7 per day.

We recommend budgeting approximately GBP 15-25 for dinners.

You will also need to budget for any extra snacks & drinks bought during the week.

Tipping

Although optional, a tip for the leader at the end of the trip is greatly appreciated. As a guideline we recommend a contribution of approx. 20 GBP per client. This is entirely at your discretion if you wish to provide your leader with a tip if you are happy with the services they have provided throughout the trip.

TSS

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Important Information

On all guided trips

Although our leaders are well trained to deal with different capabilities, if they have any concerns about someone’s ability to safely partake in an activity, or their impact on other people’s enjoyment, we authorise them to take necessary action which, in some circumstances, may involve asking someone to miss that activity.

Although rarely enforced, by booking this trip you agree to section 14 of our Booking Conditions which clearly states that our leaders have the authority to do this. In these circumstances we will ensure anyone sitting out is safely provided for and offered alternative options where possible. Refunds will not be provided for activities missed and customers may be liable for additional costs incurred.

On all trips

In booking this trip you should be confident in your ability to participate in all activities described in these Trip Notes. If you have any doubt about your suitability you should call the Exodus office and ask to speak to one of the experts on this itinerary.

 

Every time that you travel abroad you should take the time to read the warnings in the essential information in the brochure.

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers, and details of how to reach the start point, will be sent to you approximately 2 to 3 weeks prior to departure. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.

The information in these Trip Notes is given in good faith. Where differences exist between the Trip Notes and our current brochure or website, the Trip Notes supersede the brochure and website. All holidays can be subject to unexpected changes; in order to enjoy them you should be prepared to be flexible where necessary. Occasionally, as stated in our brochure, it may not be possible to follow the itinerary as planned. This may be for a variety of reasons - climatic, political, physical or other. In these circumstances we will make the best possible alternative arrangements that maintain the integrity of the original itinerary.

As fuel prices, airport taxes and exchange rates fluctuate, and airlines manage their rates to match demand, it is proving harder than ever to guarantee our Flight Inclusive prices. Although we endeavour to keep our website as accurate as possible, daily fluctuations mean that our Flight Inclusive price may be out of date. For accurate prices we recommend that you contact one of our Travel Experts, or your Travel Agent.

TRAVEL AWARE – STAY SAFE & HEALTHY ABROAD

 

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office and the NHS have up-to-date advice on staying safe and healthy abroad. For more on security, local laws, plus passport and visa information, see https://travelaware.campaign.gov.uk/

Keep informed of current travel health news by visiting https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/

Advice can change so check regularly for updates.

For all latest travel information about your holiday, please visit our Travel Safety Advice page.

How to Book

1. Check availability

Go online to check availability, or contact us by phone or email.

2. Secure your place

You can provisionally hold a place on this trip, usually for between three and seven days.

3. Complete your booking and payment

When you're ready to book, go to our website for online bookings, book over the phone or you can complete a booking form (available online or on request by calling us). We accept all major credit and debit cards, or you can pay be cheque. Book with confidence: Exodus is fully licensed and bonded as a tour operator. We hold Air Traffic Organisers Licence (ATOL) number 2582 issued and bonded with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). We are also bonded to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and we are members of the Federation of Tour Operators (FTO) and ABTA ‐ The Travel Association. This means you can book your Exodus holiday with confidence, as all monies paid to us for your trip are fully protected.

TRIP NOTE VALIDITY

These Trip Notes are valid from the "Current as" date on page one. They will occasionally be updated post booking and pre-departure; if there are any updates that significantly impact the inclusions or itinerary bookers will be written to separately. All customers will also receive a link to the most up-to-date version of the Trip Notes with their Final Joining Instructions pre-travel.